Friday, 14 December 2012

Loving the Turbo......

Early one morning a few days ago I looked out of one of the windows high up in the turrets of Purple Towers to be greeted with a view of ice everywhere..... 

It had been a very cold night and as I watched Anne walk down the main steps of the Towers on her way to work, it was obvious that it was pretty dangerous to walk along the road let alone trying to cycle along it....Watching one of my neighbours  slipping and sliding everywhere as he attempted to reverse his car out of his drive confirmed the thought in my mind, that my cycle riding that day was going to be on the turbo rather than in the great outdoors.. 

Now a lot of people seem to  dislike riding a turbo session judging by all the comments on twitter and letters in the cycling press.... For my part however I have no such dislike.... Some of my view probably comes from not wishing to end up like this again. 

Now although that particular accident wasn't caused by ice, the end result can so easily be the same... 
Since that crash I have been very conscious of a couple of things which might help to explain why I have no dislike of training indoors on a turbo or static bike during some of the worst of the winter weather... 

Hitting the tarmac because of a tumble from the bike can hurt.....!
If you are in your twenties and you fall it might well hurt but you will probably recover reasonably quickly....in your sixties that same fall can take a lot longer to recover from, not only that, but the chances are that you are  more likely to end up with broken bones as well. 

So if I am more likely to suffer a break and also take longer to recover it therefore makes reasonable sense to be just a bit cautious if there are signs of ice about.... 
After all, at my age every day counts and I don't want to spend weeks off the bike for the sake of going out on an icy day just to get that extra ride in... 

It's not just riders of my age though....
Up until a couple of years ago I used to follow the blog of another rider based here in the UK. 
I think he was in his mid thirties....anyway one winter he had an accident when he hit some black ice when out riding on a club ride...he went down very hard and sustained some pretty serious injuries...his recovery took months and the trauma of the whole event was such that it put him off cycling altogether and he eventually shut down his blog after announcing that he was giving up the sport.....

One of the things that a lot of riders say is that they get bored really quickly whilst riding indoors on a turbo or the like... But I can't say that I suffer with this boredom problem.... 
I find when I am forced by the bad weather to ride indoors I can pedal away quite happily while my mind seems to change out of gear to neutral  and just replays past adventures from my mental memory store.... a constant loop of all the previous miles that I have cycled....

Easy for me of course at 65, with years of past adventures of cycling to log into...with a real library of thousands of miles cycling for me to replay it is almost like a state of  meditation... a zen zone......  
Not so easy for someone a lot younger who probably doesn't have the same bank of previous experiences from which they can  tap into.... 
Maybe their turbo ride is more likely to be hampered with feelings of frustration, because they can't get out on the bike and build on their cycling adventures to add to their own memory bank, whereas my turbo ride is not so likely to be overshadowed with those same feelings of frustration.... 

Mind you, this little theory doesn't explain of course all those older riders who have no love for the turbo...Oh well.. back to the drawing board on that one.....

One other real benefit of riding indoors on the turbo of course is the ability to stick much closer to the various personal HR training zones that you might be using in your training plan.
No other riders to egg you on up that hill and push you out of that zone which your plan tells you that you should be sticking to.
No sprints for the road sign when you know that it will push you out of the zone.... 
Training within personal HR zones take a bit of discipline and I find that it is easier to exercise that discipline when using the turbo.....

As with most things, using the turbo or static training bike is all about having the right state of mind.... if you allow your mind to keep telling you that you are going to hate it....that you will get bored....etc........then that is exactly what will happen. 
I just accept that the alternative could well end up worse.....
Learn to take control of your thinking and you could well find that before long you will be 'loving the turbo'.

6 comments:

rlove2bike said...

I know I try to be more careful as I age. Still not a fan of the turbo. On a side note...I just wonder how many 65 year old people out there have 11,085 miles this year so far. I am guessing not many, if any.

Thanks for posting,
RL

Bethany said...

Thanks for the post. I've been debating on putting a road tire on my Fargo and using my trainer for the winter.

Even though I have a bike specifically for snow, I still worry about falling or crashing.

Steve A said...

Alternatively, such a day is good to simply take a day off.

RANTWICK said...

At 43, I'm starting to feel my injuries for longer, but not too badly yet.

I'm not suggesting that you invest in studded tires given the amount of use you would likely get from them, but you would not believe the grip they can have on black ice. You still have to be careful, of course, but I can ride on ice that I would wipe out on for sure on foot, or spin out on in my car. It is really neat.

Paul said...

I got a set of rollers years ago, but could never stay on them, unless I was going full speed.

Char said...

Thanks for your kind words regarding my bike accident (where I was hit from behind by a big pick-up truck). My broken right arm is healing slowly, and I will hopefully be back on my bike by the Spring. In the meantime, I will look into getting a stationery wheel to put my rear wheel on, so that I can ride inside, and, like you, enjoy the BETTER times I have had on a bike.

Be safe,
Charmaine